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Image of Duncan Gillies

Duncan Gillies

January 1834 (Yorkhill, Glasgow)
12 September 1903
Duncan, market gardener, and Margaret

Religion: Presbyterian?

Marital Status: 15 January 1897 London, Mrs Harriett Turquand Fillan, (nee Theobald); no children

Glasgow High School and Academy

Mining interests

Duncan Gillies (1834-1903) was born near Glasgow, Scotland and migrated to Victoria in 1852. Successful miner and public figure in Ballarat and after several attempts was elected to the Legislative Assembly in 1860 for the seat of Ballarat West. Losing his seat in an 1868 by-election, he was re-elected two years later for Maryborough. Serving as commissioner for railways and roads and later minister for lands, Gillies was controversially forced to contest two elections for the seat of Rodney, in May and November of 1877, after accusations the lands department had applied undue influence in the May 1877 campaign. In 1886, after almost a decade of service as minister and shadow minister for railways, Gillies became Premier in a coalition government with Alfred Deakin. The following year Gillies and Deakin both refused offers of knighthoods. Governing at the height of the Victorian economic boom, the Coalition was re-elected in 1889. The subsequent 1890s economic recession diminished Gillies' personal fortune and his capacity to govern, and in late October 1890 the coalition was defeated by a motion of no confidence. . Duncan Gillies left parliament in 1893, accepting the post of Agent-General in London. During this time abroad he met Harriett Turquand Fillan who became his wife in 1897. Returning to Victoria in 1897, Gillies contested and won the seat of Toorak in the Legislative Assembly. Elected as Speaker in 1902, his health began to fail and on the 12 September 1903 he died at the Victorian Parliament House (Exhibition Building) aged 69. 

Conservative-Liberal Coalition
HouseElectorateStart End
Legislative AssemblyBallarat West1 February 18611 May 1868By-election
Legislative AssemblyMaryborough1 March 18701 April 1877By-election
Legislative AssemblyRodney1 May 18771 October 1877Unseated
Legislative AssemblyRodney1 November 18771 March 1889
Legislative AssemblyEastern Suburbs1 April 18891 January 1894
Legislative AssemblyToorak1 October 18971 September 1903

*The Start date for Members elected after 1900 is the date they were elected. The start date for pre-1900 Members is the date they were sworn in.
Inaugural Speech
"Beever, Margot. 'Gillies, Duncan (1834–1903)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/gillies-duncan-3617/text5619, accessed 15 March 2013. Brodie, Marc. 'Gillies, Duncan (1834–1903).' Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Online ed. Ed. Lawrence Goldman, Oxford: Oxford University Press. http://www.oxforddnb.com.rp.nla.gov.au/view/article/33406, accessed 14 March 2013 Thomson, K & Serle, G, 'A Biographical Register of the Victorian Legislature 1851-1900', ANU Press, 1972. 1906 'GILLIES MEMORIAL UNVEILED.', The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), 27 June, p. 3, viewed 15 March, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12823438"

Last updated: 14th August 2019